Pixelache: Electronic circuits and urban culture
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This entry shares a slide presentation made by Andrew Gryf Paterson on behalf of Pixelache Helsinki at the Centre for Independent Social Research in St. Petersburg, Russia, on 20th January, 2012.
"Pixelache Helsinki: Electronic Circuits and Urban Culture
This presentation introduces Pixelache Helsinki, a transdisciplinary platform for experimental art, design, research and activism. Sharing the history of the cultural association and festival, beginning in 2002, the talk focuses on an ongoing theme over the years - engaging public and urban space - with project examples that have been presented in the festival over the years, and several which have been/are larger processes setting off new directions and expanding networks.
The name 'Pixelache' was found by festival-initiator Juha Huuskonen in an article that predicted new words which we would need in future around 2002. The word ‘pixelache’ (similar to ‘headache’) was supposed to describe the feeling that results from an overdose of digital media content. This overdose can happen easily if the content is too monotonic – which is the case if standards, formats, tools and design principles converge to a narrow set of options.
Many of the founding participants had grown up in the electronic subcultures of Helsinki demoscene, VJ-culture, electronics hacking and experimental digital interface design, and looked for a place to present their prototypes. Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art became the host and hub in the centre of the city for these emerging interests. In 2005, a Finnish social scientist astutely interpreted the festival as a case of media artists working with open-source ideologies. Pixelache has also been a network of different practitioners, organisations and urban locations, sharing between them and their differences.
The open-source themes of access and open space for participation extended also into other fields, including city-infrastructre, and artist-led communications projects. It was also necessary to move beyond the museum venue into alternative and multiple sites. Introduced were creative and sometimes critical perspectives in the meeting points of art, design, technology and public space: Locative media explorations in the Central Railway Station, 'Boxwars' fight-music event, Guerrilla VJ 'Units' projecting live graphics on the buildings, Coin-operated megaphone-booths, urban energy-use visualisations, container projects, and psychogeographical tours which follow the spirit of early 'Pixelache'.
The most recent endevours in 2011-2012 have involved moving out of Kiasma, presenting the Festival on the nearby heritage/neighbourhood island Suomenlinna (Viapori) in 2011; and proposing an alternative currency for the inhabitants and visitors of the island, which currently in research & development phase.
To conclude the presentation, the outreach and educational branch of Pixelache Helsinki, called 'Pixelversity', is briefly introduced to encourage cooperation and future plans between NW Russia, Estonia and Finland: One of the themes that we hope to explore together will be 'Creative Neighbourhood Skills', including at the regional perspective."
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